Kaizer M. Nyatsumba

The Official Website

kaizer the writer

   Written here are Kaizer's poems, most of which are published in his books. These poems can also be accessed here: http://badilishapoetry.com/kaizer-mabhilidi-nyatsumba/ 

Nostalgia: I Want To Walk on Freedom Street


I long to walk on that dusty road

                                which turns and meanders


                               past igloo-like mudhouses

                               past old makeshift fruit markets

                               past brazen street vendors

                               and past a pitiable lonely school


                      I long to walk proudly

                            on such a road

                            stopping on the way

                            to greet a friend

                           or to chat with a stranger

                           or even to land a hand

                           to an old man covered in dust

                           trying to find his way home

                          stopping on the way

                          to marvel at the beauty

                          of such a desolate place

                          or to drop a cent

                          in a beggar’s tin

                          or even to listen

                          to the cry of a hungry child

                     I am tired

                           of the entrapment of the city

                           whose glittering stands beckoning

                           to take me away

                           from the quiet and tranquillity  of home

                           to this city

                           this Washington that knows no night

                           the glare of lights

                           and the deafening noise overwhelm me

                           I want to go home

                    I long for my home

                           on freedom street

                           I long for the peace

                           and the quiet of the night

                           I long for its frighteningly

                           murky nights

                           where I will sleep sound

                           fearing none of civilization’s


                   I long for the place

                            where I grew up

                            a place where birds chirp

                            and doves coo on trees

                            under which children frolic

                           a place where man is still man

                           free from the fetters of civilization

-      that is my home.

25 years ago

       written on 2 november 1988

25 years ago

this day

there must have been

some joy


there must have been

some celebration

where three, five or seven people

must have ululated

looking with glee

at the small baby i was

crying, laughing or sleeping

25 years ago

this day

a man must have hugged

his wife


congratulating her

as she lay

on the blanket

on the floor

still weak


wrapped in one

of my mama’s old dresses

and cuddled in her arms

must have turned

my head

and looked at her

with love in my arms

which nobody could perceive

did mama know then

lying in that mud house

that the infant

she held in her arms

would grow up

to be the man

i am now

in whose success

she would not share

and whose son

she would never see

for death

took her prematurely

25 years ago

this day

my thin voice

must have pierced the air

as I announced my arrival

in this world



the sun begins to shine again

after torrid heat

and suffocating humidity

a gentle breeze blows

and birds

- once petrified

begin to sing again

even in this darkest of clouds

there is a silver lining



on their own

they look like

sheep on a precipice:



and vulnerable

but shepherd them

cull them carefully

adorn and string them


and they will sing


are like our bodies:

denuded or attired in tatters

they prick

sharper than thorns

they pierce

like a scorned mistress’s tongue

and shame

their utterer

but draped in fineries

they soothe festering wounds

revive broken hearts

smell sweeter than incense

and compliment

their source

so clothe them presentably

my brother

dust and wrap them


pick and match them


with finesse

for words well chosen

are more precious

than diamonds


Children No Longer Sing


In my country

beautiful, rich and serene

children no longer sing

of freedom

of heroes fearless

and futures beckoning temptingly


where once they frolicked merrily

and sang proudly

silence has descended

wailing has taken over

and the little ones’

once-hearty laughs

are forgotten, gone


the innocence of youth


the promises of a canaan

and gone –

gone for ever –

the once-ubiquitous romantic love

of the night

waifs and orphans

abound in my land


thick and palpable

strides my country

mounds and mounds of soil


as the earth waits eagerly

to ingest more

of my compatriots

In my beloved country

where the old is not yet over

and the new is yet to be born

rains have stubbornly stayed away

and drought

menacing and proud

walks the land

vegetation wilts

flowers wither and die

and animals are emaciated

only tears

thousands of people’s tears



in this once-beautiful

land of ours

the rattle of murderous cowboys’ guns –

far too many to count –

reigns by day and by night


where innocents’ blood

flows ceaselessly

armed bandits are in control

this dry, this arid land

is incarnadine:

in sebokeng, soweto

and the natal midlands

haematic streams flow:

in katlehong, dawn park

king william’s town

and no tourniquet

appears capable

of staunching the flow

In this beleaguered country

what future, my compatriots

can we look forward to

when the sanguinary

are in control

and our rivers have turned red?

what shall we tell

our children –

they for whom tomorrow matters –

when they demand answers?

In my country

beautiful, rich and serene

children no longer sing

of freedom

of heroes fearless

and futures beckoning temptingly



                       Dowse the Flames



                             when menacing clouds

                             hovered oppressively

                             over the horizon

                             children braved guns

                             and casspirs

                             in demand for free air

                             and sunshine

                             while leaders


                             and urged them to their death

                             pronouncing them

                             brave young lions.


                             the fearful clouds have departed

                             and sunshine reigns supreme

                             with salubrious air truly free

                             yet stubbornly

                             does a nauseating stench

                             hang in the air

                             as those to whom

                             the future belongs


                  - as if of the black death of old –

                   and are weekly interred

                   while those who style themselves leaders

                   trawl the internet

                   deep into the night

                   and, with schadenfreude combined with hubris,

                   chant nonchalantly:

                   a virus cannot cause a syndrome.